On Saturday, January 31, the 2015 Gasparilla Pirate Fest will once again
be in full force in the Tampa area. Each year, this unique, historic pirate-themed
festival, which is hosted by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla, takes over
and gives the coastal city a chance to celebrate the legend of a mythical
Spanish pirate captain. The main aspect of the festival involves a pirate
"invasion," which consists of a parade of hundreds of boats.
Several other smaller parades occur as well, including a more children-friendly
event and a night parade.
Other related events that are hosted in the spring include:
- Gasparilla Festival of the Arts
- Gasparilla Film Festival
- Gasparilla Pageant & Fashion Festival
- Gasparilla Music Festival
- Gasparilla Distance Classic
As a whole, the Gasparilla Pirate Fest has an enormous economic impact
on the local area, with an estimated 300,000 people in the crown for the
main parade alone. It is believed that more than a million people attend
at least one event. In 2007, one study showed that all of the events had
a $40 million local economic impact.
The Dangers of Gasparilla: Spike in Arrests
Unfortunately, the pirate festival is not always just fun and games. In
fact, for many people, the celebration is cut short. With an increased
police presence, there is often a huge spike in arrests over the weekend.
Consider the following statistics regarding past Gasparilla festivals:
2010 – 415 Arrests
2011 – Nearly 350 Arrests
2012 – 302 Citations & 50 Arrests
2013 – 131 Citations & 68 Arrests
2014 – 3 Felony Arrests & 39 Misdemeanors
How to Have Fun & Be Safe This Weekend
Although arrests have been on a steady decline, it is still warned that
all partygoers be safe when enjoying the Gasparilla events this upcoming weekend.
Just some of the prohibited items include the following:
- Styrofoam Cups & Containers
- Glass Containers
- Coolers (ex: Exceptions Made for Medical Needs)
- Tents, Fences, Stakes, or Rope
There will also be zero tolerance for underage alcohol consumption, disruptive
behavior, and quality of life issues.
The following may result in an arrest:
If You Get Arrested, Contact Our Tampa Criminal Lawyers
At Thomas & Paulk, we have represented several individuals who were
arrested while enjoying the Gasparilla events. Having handled thousands
of criminal cases, our criminal defense attorneys have the experience
needed to craft a strong defense.
For example, we once represented a college student who was arrested for
underage possession of alcohol while attending the main Gasparilla parade.
We took on the case and proved that our client had no criminal record.
We negotiated with the State Attorney and were ultimately able to convince
the State to drop the charges in exchange for our client performing 16
hours of community service.
If you or someone you love are arrested or receive a citation, we encourage
you to contact our Tampa criminal defense law firm as soon as possible.
Get in touch with us today for a
free evaluation of your case.